TVLine's Performer of the Week: Lily Rabe

mixtape5_ahsA new feature in which we spotlight shining stars (Note: Because of the holidays, this installment spans three weeks of intermittent original programming)


THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)

THE EPISODE | “The Name Game”

THE AIRDATE | January 2, 2013

RELATED | Horror Story Season 3: Ryan Murphy Teases ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Theme, Haunted Location

THE PERFORMANCE | It’s pretty tough to top lip-synching “You Don’t Own Me”… to a crucifix… while wearing a pilfered red slip… and owning it. But Rabe’s performance in poor, possessed Sister Mary Eunice’s swan song this week provided us with a real come-to-Jesus moment: The woman is one versatile actress.

In an hour’s time, Rabe cycled through all her faces of evil with campy flourish. Her sassy standoff with Sister Jude in the common room transitioned to what had all the appearances of a by-the-book order for electroshock therapy. “This is awkward for me, given our prior relationship,” she intoned to her former superior – and if you didn’t know about the devil inside, wouldn’t you have believed her? Then, faster than you can say “defrock,” she’d had her way with the tortured monsignor, who weakly protested that he’d given his body to Christ. “What has He given to you?” Rabe purred, relishing her corrupting role.

In her last temptation of the fallen holy man, she artfully switched between mocking him and teasing his ambitious dreams — then erupted in fury when her tempting words had no effect. Sweet Mary Eunice emerged for a fleeting, sob-filled moment that underlined Rabe’s skill at playing characters both unsullied and unsouled. When the young nun began her descent from Sister Jude’s “Stairway to Heaven,” we were sad to see the bedeviled bride of Christ go. Now I lay me down to sleep, let’s pray that Ryan Murphy next season Rabe does keep?

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What performance knocked your socks off this week?


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. jonvit says:

    Gosh, she’s been amazing this season. I hope she gets the Emmy recognition she deserves, cause this season of AHS is about soooo much more than Jessica Lange’s (awesome) acting skills…

    • wrstlgirl says:

      I completely agree! So much praise, and deservedly so, for Jessica Lange but the performances by Rabe and Quinto have also been stellar.

  2. Dennis says:

    That was her best episode up to date. I hope we haven’t seen the last of her even though the character died. Ryan Murphy loves flashbacks, so maybe there will be some in the season finale.

    • Liu says:

      I want flashback. I want to see more of “pure” Sister Mary. She’s the highlight of this season and so frickin’ amazing. Jessica Lange clearly got outshined this season.
      Sarah Paulson, James Cromwell and Evan Peters are top-notch also.

  3. sean says:

    Lange singing was the highlight for me

  4. Isak says:

    She is amazing I am beyond surprised she didn’t already get a nomination for a Golden Globe.

    • Billy says:

      The only reason she didn’t get a Holden glove nomination was because they refuse to expand the supporting actor categories to more than one for all tv programs…if there were 3 like the Emmys she would have been a shoo in for a nomination if not win

  5. AJ says:

    My pick would be Matt Smith or Jenna-Louise Coleman. Both of them were very impressive in the Doctor Who christmas episode.

  6. jim says:

    Finally! She’s the only person I’ve wanted to win this since it started. I fell in love with her this season. She definitely deserves to at least be nominated for an Emmy for the range she showed this year. I haven’t seen an actress have so much fun with a role in years

  7. Frankieboy says:

    she has been nothing but awesome this season!!!!

    above anything else with a cast like AHS has this season, it’s like watching the athletes of acting play together.

    Rabe, Paulson and Lange have been the strongest female actors this whole TV season. (with some Claire Danes tossed in between)

  8. A says:

    That scene with the monsignor……..gave me chills especially when she sang him that song. Lily Rabe is clearly the standout of this season and I never expected this performance considering how I really disliked Nora last season. But she’s amazing in Asylum. Definitely deserves an Emmy nomination for this performance

  9. D. says:

    Favourite character and great actress! She needs to be in Season 3.

  10. tahina says:

    Definitely one great actress..The Name Game was one of her best..but was topped,I think, by Jessica Lange dancing/singing scene. :D

  11. ashley says:

    Hands down shes the best part of this season! Sad to see Sister Mary Eunice go!

  12. Joe says:

    Rabe by far gave the best performance by a female this year for drama. She deserves an Emmy nomination along side Lange, Paulson, Claire Danes, and Jennifer Carpenter

    • Stan says:

      I completely agree with this!

    • WOW. Someone who thinks like me!! Jennifer Carpenter’s scene in the season finale of Dexter was amazingly real. I think she always does great work but people hate her because she’s so good at her character.

      Couldn’t agree ore though. Let’s not be bitter about Lange being nominated and not Rabe or Paulson because Lange still delivered a very complex and amazing character this season. But also Paulson. Paulson was amazing. Through the entire series she is the one that I am rooting for and feel for the most. I feel her pain and her torment and cheer when she gets the upper hand.

      And of course why I came here. Rabe is a total delight as the Devil and Sister Mary Eunice. But wow. So cool to see someone completely agree with me on at least 4 actresses who deserve to be nominated this year.

  13. Mark says:

    Would never have guessed she was 30 years old. Eek.

  14. RowellE says:

    “Now I lay me down to sleep, let’s pray that Ryan Murphy next season Rabe does keep?” I was just thinking that when I watched the episode! I hope Rabe does return next season!

  15. Nahuel says:

    I think it was stupid the way she died. I was waiting for something bigger.

  16. Becca says:

    Cote dePablo deserves to be the next performer of the week. Her final scene in Shabbat Shalom broke my heart! It’s about time NCIS got some recognition

  17. Drew says:

    I know Sarah Paulson was supposed to steal the show this season but I completely disagree. I think the leads were definitely Jessica Lange and Lily Rabe. They were phenomenal. I think Jessica’s nomination was well deserved especially since she topped her performance from last season. I cannot stop rewatching this season. In my opinion, this season was far superior to the first season because I thought their was much more character development this time around. Was I the only person rooting for Jessica to get her chance with the monsignor? Favorite scenes included Jessica’s dance scene, Lily’s singing scene, the scene with Jessica and the possessed man at the exorcism, any scene with James Cromwell, Francis Conroy’s scenes, and Jessica’s final scene. So sad, I actually cried from watching it. All in all, great season but I am doubtful that season 3 will top this season.